Article Review: Asthma and Obesity

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Asthma and Obesity in American Children

This paper is review of literature on child obesity and its association with asthma disease in the U.S. children. Four pertinent research articles have been reviewed and analysis regarding the articles has been presented. Child obesity in the U.S. is found to have significantly positive relationship with asthma. Children that are reported to have above normal body mass index (BMI) as compared to children having average BMI are at an increased risk of asthma. Several factors are associated to this association between asthma and obesity. The researchers have found that there are multiple health issues that a child goes through when obesity and asthma are experienced as co-morbid diseases in the U.S. children. Some researcher have also investigated the impact of social and physical environment on obesity as well as asthma disease whereas other researchers have investigated the role of ethnicity in increased likelihood of being asthma patient related to obesity.

Asthma and Obesity in U.S. Children


Researchers have long tried to investigate the association between obesity and asthma. Lately, many researchers have reported that there exists a positive correlation between asthma and body mass index of an individual. Since children are most vulnerable to any such disease, this literature review is based on the following research question.

Research question

To investigate the potential relationship of asthma with obesity, the following research question has been developed as a guide for conducting the literature review.

What is the association between asthma and obesity in U.S. children?

Literature review

Fiese, Everhart and Wildenger (2009) investigated the role of asthma in aggravating the chronic health issues of children within the age bracket of 6-11. To investigate this relationship, this study was conducted by developing two-fold objectives. First goal of this study was to research if there was any relationship between a child having asthma and waking up in middle of night as well as other symptoms such as missing school in morning due to sleeplessness and morning asthma. Secondly, this study aimed to investigate whether or not risk of internalizing symptoms increase due to being obese and an asthma patient. The authors have approached the research topic by explaining asthma and school going children in the U.S. that are reported to have this medical issue. The authors explained that asthma children were thought of having higher Body mass index (BMI) due to decreased physical activity. However this was not the case as some researchers, based on their empirical research, refuted this assumption. Two broader reasons are cited by the authors regarding the relationship of being obese and having asthma. Firstly, the likelihood of being obese increases with an increased symptom of sleeplessness due to asthma in children as well as adults. Sleeplessness also results in multiple problems in school for these children such as lack of concentration and depression. The research is based on an empirical investigation by interviewing 93 children as well as their primary caregivers. Teachers of these students were also involved through reports of these children in school settings. Upstate New York was the area from where the researchers collected the data.

The researchers adopted a carefully designed method to collected relevant data that included threefold input, from children and their primary caregivers as well as teachers of these children through filling up the teacher report form (TRF). Classification of average and above average BMI children was also made. Statistical tools such as regression analysis were used to monitor impact of each factor on TRF. The results of the study indicated that nighttime walking in obese children was much more as compared to children with average BMI. Main hypothesis of studied was verified as being correct as children above 7 years of age that were obese and having asthma, experienced sleep disruption and other chronic health disorders more than children having average BMI. Further, lack of sleep is also found to be associated with poor academic performance. Lack of cognitive development is the outcome of frequent sleep disruptions. The study was well presented and corroborated the findings of earlier empirical researches. The study made some original contribution to the existing knowledge as it indicated that co-morbid conditions in childhood are increased when obesity and asthma are found in same child.

Suglia, Chambers, Rosario and Duarte (2011) also researched the health topics of obesity and asthma in children aged 3 years. This study was different as compared to other researches on asthma and obesity as the researchers tried to investigate the role of sex of the child and home environment in developing asthma and obesity symptoms in the child. Thus, this study is one of the rare ones to investigate the social and physical characteristics associated to rising rate of asthma and obesity in younger children. Data was collected from Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study. 36-month in-home assessment was used to assess the impact of home environment on obesity and asthma symptoms. The study was extensive as it interviewed 4849 women across 20 U.S. cities selected from the hospitals. Baseline interviews at the time of birth and follow up interviews after 12 and 36 months were conducted. The home social factors that were assessed to have a linkage with obesity and asthma symptoms were maternal depression and intimate partner violence. Home physical environments included factors such as housing characteristics and tobacco exposure. Logistic regression analysis was employed as a data analysis tool after data was collected. The results of the study indicated that obese children were at twice the risk of being as asthma patient as well when compared to non-obese children (both boys and girls). Stratified sample indicated that obsess boys were at a greater risk of being an asthma patients as compared to obese girls. On the whole, both obese boys and obese girls faced increased risk of asthma as compared to children having normal BMI. It was also concluded that home social and physical environment was not associated to the incidence of being asthma patient and obese. This study also corroborated the findings of earlier studies that obesity and asthma are co-morbid diseases whereas other health issues that relate obesity to asthma include respiratory system malfunction, inflammation, and disruption of energy regulating hormones in children.

The study was an important endeavor to investigate that whether or not social and physical conditions were related, positively or negatively with asthma and obesity. Since there is an increased notion being held be people that lower income families do not offer hygienic and appropriate conditions to their children, these children might be facing increase risk of asthma and other chronic health issues. Thus, this study was an important one in this respect that it rejected any such direct relationship between social and environmental conditions related to family set up having any relationship with asthma and obesity.

Black, Smith, Porter, Jacobsen and Koebnick (2012) also investigated the coincidence of being an asthma patient and obese. Particularly this study aimed to investigate the role of race/ethnicity on the increased likelihood of childhood obesity and being an asthma patient. This study was one of the most extensive studies being carried out to investigate the issue at hand. 681,122 electronic medical records (EMR) of patients aged 6-19 were included in assessment that longed for two years, 2007-2009. This study was cross-sectional and indicated several important results. Since BMI and height measure were made part of the medical records being retrieved, the study was consistent with World Health Organization's (WHO's) standards for assessing obesity. Patients having a year-long medical problem of asthma were selected for including their EMRs. Since the main objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between ethnic background and obesity as well as asthma, the birth certificates of patient population was also recovered. In this study, chi-square was used as a statistical tool to major differences in demography and clinical characteristics. A multivariable model was used to assess the impact of different factors on obesity and asthma. Hispanics, African-Americans, American Indians, non-Hispanic whites, and native Alaskan youth were main patient sample groups based on their ethnicity. The results of the study suggested that all three categories i.e. extremely obese, moderately obese, and overweight, of patient sample were associated to asthma symptoms and the frequency of such symptoms was increasing in obese patients as compared to non-obese. This result being obtained was consistent when compared to previous studies with only one exception. It was indicated in previous studies that being overweight does not necessarily increase in the likelihood of being asthma patient, however present study does report this association between overweight and asthma. One rather unexplored dimension of this research was the relationship that researchers found between increased use of ambulatory and emergency room services in case of obese-asthma patients when compared to non-obese asthma patients. Higher prescription of medications was also found in case of asthma patient being obese as well. Regarding association of obesity and asthma with racial ethnic background, the result reported indicate that extreme obesity influenced the incidence of asthma in… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Article Review:

APA Format

Asthma and Obesity.  (2013, June 13).  Retrieved August 23, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Asthma and Obesity."  13 June 2013.  Web.  23 August 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Asthma and Obesity."  June 13, 2013.  Accessed August 23, 2019.